What makes a top-ranked app a top-ranked app on Apple’s App Store? The answer to that question may have just changed.
According to a report from Inside Mobile Apps, the analytics firm Flurry has noticed a change in Apple’s lists of top free and paid apps that has lead the firm to believe the Cupertino, Calif., company is taking more into account than an app’s download figures.
Facebook, Pandora and Netflix all saw huge jumps in their rank last week, raising some suspicion that the store’s lists were using different criteria.
No one’s quite sure what may have changed, but a popular guess is that the company is now also measuring how actively the apps are being used.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
If Apple is moving away from ranking on downloads alone, that’s probably a good thing. A more diverse group of variables should result in better recommendations. Apps that pay per install can unfairly climb the ranks, as GigaOm pointed out, and some app companies are not above planting positive reviews. With a few metrics taken together, the store should be able to produce a more accurate ranking.
What criteria do you think should go into an app’s overall ranking?